The Western is one of Hollywood cinema's most potent and enduring genres, bound up with America's understanding of itself as a frontier nation. Ed Buscombe provides an illuminating guide to a hundred key films of the genre, from "Bad Day at Black Rock" to "The Wild Bunch", to "Butch Cassidy" and the "Sundance Kid", "A Fistful of Dollars", "The Searchers" and "The Magnificent Seven". Each entry includes a plot synopsis, major credits, and a commentary on the film's significance and its production and exhibition history. Ed Buscombe's introduction to the volume addresses the perennial appeal of the Western, exploring as an element of nineteenth century popular culture, and examining its relationship to the economic structure of Hollywood.He considers the defining features of the Western - the concept of the frontier and the key role of masculinity - and traces its main cycles, from the epic Westerns of the 1920s and singing cowboys of the 1930s to the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s and its marked decline from the 1970s. He also discusses the contribution of major auteurs such as Ford, Mann, Peckinpah, Leone and Eastwood.
Edward Buscombe is the editor of The BFI Companion to Western and has written on Stagecoach, The Searchers and The Unforgiven in the BFI Film Classics series. His most recent book is Cinema Today, published by Phaidon.
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